23 Aug 2014
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Let the Search Begin: Joseph Erardi Will Be Next Newtown Superintendent

Erardi succeeds interim superintendent Dr. John Reed as Newtown's next school superintendent.

Let the Search Begin: Joseph Erardi Will Be Next Newtown Superintendent
By Newtown Patch Editor Davis Dunavin.

After a months-long search, Board of Education officials announced Friday that Southington Superintendent Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr. will lead the Newtown school district as its next superintendent.

"I sit here very thankful and very humble," Erardi said after the announcement, solidified by a unanimous vote. "I assure you I will be respectful to the past. I assure you we'll work hard to the present. And I'm very excited for the future of Newtown ... This is a very special night in my life."

Erardi led Southington's schools for seven years, beginning in 2006. In an e-mail to staff last week, he said there was "not another job in the country that I would be interested in" aside from the superintendent position in Newtown.

"It would be very easy for us to spend the next two or three hours just reviewing all the praise we've received on including Dr. Erardi in our search," said board member Keith Alexander. "Everyone who knows him seems to think he's the most fantastic person they know, and now that I know him I understand why."

"I was so excited to have Dr. Erardi be in the position of wanting to be our superintendent," said board member Kathy Hamilton.

Board member John Vouros said he received five phone calls last summer from Erardi's friends.

"They said, 'Get him here as fast as you can,'" Vouros said. "So I'm thrilled you've become the [eighth] member of this wonderful team."

Erardi will begin serving this spring when interim superintendent Dr. John Reed departs. Reed has led Newtown schools since May 2013, when former superintendent Janet Robinson resigned.

The board worked with CABE (the Connecticut Association of Board of Education) in a months-long selection process that included focus groups, online surveys and interviews.

Board vice chair Laura Roche read a statement saying Erardi had been "highly regarded" by the three schools in which he'd previously served.

"The selection of the superintendent is one of the most important decisions Newtown schools will make," she said. "Joe rose to the top of a very impressive group ... Dr. Erardi was exceptional for his depth and breadth of understanding not only of the educational part of the equation, but the human side as well."

Roche said Erardi's commitment to parent and community involvement, including daily office hours, and his knowledge of budget and finance also contributed to his success.

Board members conducted a site visit to Southington Jan. 10. Roche said the staff members they met provided "universally glowing" recommendations.

"They described him as caring, collaborative, intelligent ... He's a strategic problem-solver, and his actions match his words," she said.

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